Gigi Problems

Gigi problems...the great purple marker debacle

I have been keeping my granddaughter, Zerah, at least 2 days a week since she was 5 weeks old. It has been pure joy for the most part but there have also been those other days.  This past week she discovered a purple magic marker (I have no idea where)   Anyway...you can see part of the damage in this pic.  There was also "artwork" on the wall and a couple pieces of furniture.
Gigi problems such as what kids really do when you aren't looking

 Zerah loves playing with Gigi's phone.  I try to limit how much screen time she has so I encourage her to be a photographer.  Apparently she is quite the photographer because she captures images that I have no idea about.  It is always interesting to see what pics she took after she leaves.  I have been blissfully believing that she never touches my things on the fireplace.  Boy was I wrong as I discovered with this picture. Lol.

Gigi problems. What? she got my phone...did she text someone or what?

 Not all of her pictures capture something naughty.  Sometimes it just captures her perspective.  I find it pretty interesting.  Who else but Zerah would take this photo?  I was so glad when she wanted to get in the cart. I had no idea she had my phone out of my purse at this point. Lol.

Gigi problems like is she a great photographer or what?

 In this photo, she is laying under my coffee table with her feet up on the couch.  I thought she was playing a game on my phone.  I'm not complaining because I think we may have a budding photographer in our midst and that thrills me even if she does capture a few odd photos.

Gigi problems like we don't need to be dressed in the garden do we?

 Art isn't the only thing we have to be concerned about at Gigi's house.  On this day, Zerah didn't want to be completely dressed.  In this photo she is wearing a shirt, pullups, and her garden boots.  I did try to dress her properly but Zerah had other ideas.  That is OK though because Gigi, figures that there are other battles to fight and this one wasn't it.  It wasn't so bad since we were just in the backyard and it is Gigi's house after all.

Gigi Problems...Surprise!...more purple marker debacle!

A couple days after Zerah was gone, Gigi found this.  It was some more artwork that Gigi had somehow missed in the purple marker debacle.  I got most of it cleaned off but not all of it.  I guess Gigi needs to paint the cabinets in the 2nd bathroom now (sigh).  Now, I am wondering what other surprises Gigi has from Z.

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Secret Designer Tips On How To Decorate Coastal Style On A Budget

Secret Designer Tips on How to decorate coastal style on a budget and still give it glam.

Coastal Retreat 

I have always dreamed of having a beach house in Florida or somewhere.  I often dream of how I would decorate that beach house to make it beautiful and relaxing.   I am decorating our little lakehouse with a coastal style and have gained some insight about the best way to make it a place of coastal serenity, peace, and a bit of glam while staying in budget.

In the style board above you can get a bit of insight into the way I am decorating in the coastal style.  I am using a palette that includes blue, aqua, turquoise, and green along with brown to give it a bit of warmth.  All of this on a white background gives this room a soothing palette that speaks serenity, peace and relaxation.

My inspiration for this color palette comes directly from the painting in the upper right corner.  Using artwork or a multicolored patterned fabric is a great way to find the color palette for a room (1st secret designer tip).  After I decide on my palette, I like to go to the paint store and collect paint chips with my colors on them.  I find paint chips that have several shades of the same color on them.  Every one of these shades will work in my room and all those shades only count as one color on your palette (that is another secret designer tip).  I carry these paint chips in my purse for when I am out shopping (Tip #3).

A secret designer tip to stay in budget is to shop online, in magazines, books, or anywhere for the things you would love to decorate with.  Take a photo or email the link of the items to yourself  to carry on your phone.  Then, when you are out shopping thrift shops, tag sales, discount stores, or wherever, you can look for similar items that cost much less.

I like to pair unexpected things together when I decorate.  One way I do that is by pairing the smooth white leather sofa with the  texture of the white wicker chair.  Another way is to use natural items such as baskets, shells and wood flooring with the smooth sparkle of glass.  This gives the casual relaxed room just a bit of glam and sparkle.

Last, I add personality to my coastal styled room with accessories.  These accessories take the form of seashells, glass bottles, baskets, pillows, lighting and plants.  I use accessories that fit the color palette and many even have the coastal theme.
Whether you have a beautiful Florida coast home or not you can stay in budget and still give any home coastal style using these tips.

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Check out some of Douglas Elliman's Florida Real Estate for your own inspiration!

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Why Am I Keeping That?

Why am I keeping that?  (Am a hoarder in the making or is it something else?)
Do you ever find yourself keeping things that do not make sense?  Things that don't really have an emotional value and certainly not much monetary value.  I found this spoon rest in my drawer.  Why am I keeping that?  Why did I actually use valuable storage space to keep it?  Why did I have to think about it before I tossed it into the trash?

It isn't like I can't afford another, not that I even need another one.  There are at least 4 or 5 more in the house (but not with cherries like those!).  So, what is the deal?

When, I asked myself these questions the first thing that popped into my head is, "well there might be hard times ahead."  What?  So a broken spoon rest is going to help that?  Lol.  I am really not crazy y'all.  I promise.

I did something freeing today.  I tossed that broken spoon rest into the trash and I felt lighter.  Maybe, I need to go through my cupboards and closets and drawers and garages, etc and do some more throwing away.  Apparently, I keep some things without reason or at least any reason that makes good sense.  That snuck up on me for sure!

I have always had some things I am not using and no apparent plan to use but those are things I describe as the Johanna Gains kind of keeping (not hoarding).  One never knows when one will want to decorate somewhere with it, but apparently there are also those broken spoon rest kind of things too.  Those broken spoon rests need to go.

Now, I just need the energy and motivation to tackle that job...lol (big sigh).
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Let's Talk Fonts

Let's Talk Fonts.  Where to get them and How to install them on your PC
I really really like fonts!  I like fonts so much that I have actually spent money buying fonts.  What are fonts?  Fonts are the  styled characters that are typed out when you type on your computer keyboard. (This one is Georgia).  Fonts come in many many different styles and types and they are great to have if you do scrapbooking or design work, especially graphic design or web design.  They are also great for those who just like to be creative with fonts on their posters, cards, etc.

There are some really great websites where you can download fonts.  Many of these websites will  even offer free font downloads.  Be sure to read the  license of use for each font you download.  You can find tons of font places from Pinterest.  I have a Pinterest board where I have saved some of my favorite font blog posts that lead to font websites where you can download some too.  Here is my Pinterest board for fonts.

If you decide to download some fonts be sure to check out their terms of use.  Some fonts require payment before you can download them.  Others require payment or a donation under certain circumstances such as for commercial use.  Other fonts are completely free to use for anything anytime, anywhere.  Many of these websites operate under the honor system.  I stay on the proper side of the law and the honor system concerning fonts, pictures and anything else I download.  This saves any embarrassment and/or lawsuit issues.  Believe me they can track you down if you don't (besides it just isn't cool to steal or cheat).

Once downloaded your fonts need to be installed on your PC before you can use them:
  1.  Find the downloaded file and click on it twice.
  2. Click Extract File Button (located at top of opened file)
  3. Open extracted file (If it doesn't open automatically)
  4. Click Install Button (located at top of opened file)
Your new font is installed and ready to use.

Come back next Thursday and learn how to create your very own font   and install it on your PC (Trust me it's super easy!).

You Might Like To Check out:

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Stop! Don't Upgrade To Windows 10!

Stop! Don't upgrade to Windows 10.  Here are 12 reasons why!

Have you been getting the offer for a "free" upgrade to Windows 10?  Stop!  Don't upgrade to Windows 10!  It won't be an upgrade!  It is a downgrade!  I know, it may even be too late.  Oh how, I wish I had this warning before I did it and more than 30 days have passed so that I can not go back to my old system.  (Sure, now I figure out I only had 30 days to decide...grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr).  I  waited, I researched and I read all the reviews and they all seemed to be good overall for Windows 10 which now makes me wonder about the reviewers and their blogs.  Yes, it does seem to be a bit faster especially when first opened but I don't think it makes up for the obvious faults that seem to be skimmed past  or ignored in all the reviews.

I added Windows 10 to my old laptop, and it is on my new laptop and now, I don't know what I am going to do and I am really not happy with Microsoft right now.  I know, they are the big guy and I am just the Don Quixote tilting at windmills in this story but someone somewhere has to start being truthful. Microsoft's Windows 10 is absolutely substandard in my opinion.  Why do I call it substandard?  Here are my reasons:

  1. I can not connect my camera to my system and easily load my pictures up onto my computer now.  I had to spend hours finding a work around way that takes forever to get my photos off.  
  2. My Compact Disc reader wouldn't work either!  Come on Windows!  People want to use their computers for the things they have always used them for like pictures.  I ended up having to buy a new disc reader when the old one was not that old....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
  3.   I have a lot (and I mean a lot!) of CD's that I can not access the files on because Windows 10 rendered my system unable to open them .  Precious photos are on those CDs and my system and CD disc drive that worked perfectly before windows 10 is now rendered useless; so here I am spending hours online trying to figure out a way to access those so that I can get them uploaded to my cloud....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
  4. Windows 10 forces you to have a password to get into your own computer.  Come on!  I don't want to type a password every single time I get onto my own darn computer!  That is fine if I have secrets to keep from others but their should be a way to turn this off.  (I believe this is part of how Microsoft is monitoring our activities, by the way, along with the keylogger  they installed (it logs every key you strike) because you are actually having to sign into Microsoft every time you log onto your computer.) I found a work around for the so called "upgraded" laptop password to be turned off but so far nothing that actually works for the new laptop.
  5. Windows 10 gives Microsoft access to your computer even when you are not online with the keylogger software.  This means they are probably monitoring your activity on your computer all the time you are on it (and who knows, maybe when you aren't on it either!).  No, I am not doing anything wrong or even embarrassing on my computer but I don't like the fact that someone is looking over my shoulder all the time on my computer and even possibly accessing my camera.  How far will they go?  I don't think they have a line they won't cross.  What if they don't like what I write on my blog or decide they don't like my religion or race or whatever?
  6. Windows 10 forces you to update whether they are good updates or not.  There is no avoiding it.  If you don't accept when given reminders then guess what?  You wake up one morning and it has been done without your permission (yes, this happened to me).  What happened to living in America the land of the free?  Apparently Microsoft wants to end that. They also like to change your settings back to their own idea of what they think should be even when you had it like you wanted. (No warning is given either!)
  7. Mandatory driver updates that can break some systems.  No choices, no way to stop it...I am wondering if this is a way to sell more computers.  
  8. Cortana is just downright creepy!  It is supposed to be a takeoff version of Siri only on your desktop.  I'm sorry but I don't like it and I don't want it.  I am not driving when I am on my laptop and although I can think of maybe a few times it would be handy to have it search for me,..mostly, I just want it off my computer or at least a way to disengage it completely and trust that another update won't just turn it on again (yep, I tried checking the box that said I didn't want it)  It is at least silent now but still there.
  9. Windows has no tech support to speak of.  Have you ever gone to the Microsoft website seeking a way to fix something?  Guess what, you are left with a message board where people can make suggestions of how to fix your problem.  Some work and some are bust.  I wonder if this company believes they are too busy to help the little people who made them big with tech problems on their product.  Are they willing to fix these problems?  Will they?  Do they even need to?  They seem to have a monopoly on operating systems or at least on getting them installed into any well known computers.  Why is this?    
  10. Windows 10 adds a big square box full of their own advertising on your desktop (it is supposed to be a way to their store).  Sorry, but last time I checked I can get there very easily on my own without a huge box on my desktop reminding me all the time. So far, I haven't figured out how to get rid of this either.  
  11. It is not easy to navigate.  Everything is different.  I am pretty good with finding things on my computer,  I learn new things easily. I have taught myself how to code my blog and I love new tech so explain to me why it is so difficult for me to figure out where things are on the new Windows 10 even after several months of using it?  
  12. Some apps that were there in my system before are completely gone now.  I used some of those things. If you have more than a set number of items then you can't find them or even search them in your start menu...now you have to add a desktop app.  
I could probably go on and on and on with all the negative things about this operating system that does not operate very well but I think you have the picture now of just how frustrated I am with it.  I am even more frustrated by the fact that all the big tech blogs seemed to jump on board the Windows 10 train with positive reviews and now; I don't trust them anymore.  I am not usually a negative blog person but someone has to tell the truth and so, here I am!  Microsoft Windows 10, in my books you get a big fat Texas fail!

Understand that I believe in grace.  I believe in forgiveness.  I believe in second chances and even 150th chances.  Microsoft, I am willing to forgive you and allow you the chance to fix these things.  I am waiting and I am sure there are others out there waiting for you to fix these problems.  
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Fun Times In Spring Time

Fun Times in Spring Time at the Local Park
There has been a lot of fun going on in our lives lately.  Spring has arrived and that means we can go to the park.  Little Z loves the park!  She runs her Pac and I (Gigi) up and down the park every time we go.  We have lots of fun watching her have so much fun.  Yes, it is exhausting but exhilarating too.  The extra exercise sure doesn't hurt us either. Lol.
Fun times in spring time at the Whiteside Museum of Natural History otherwise known as the dinosaur museum of Seymour
Little Z also has us visiting the Whiteside Museum of Natural History otherwise known as the "Dinosaur Museum" to little Z.  She really gets a kick out of it.  I have to admit that I am very impressed with it too and so are the dinosaur experts who like to come see the new species of dinosaurs that have been dug locally.  There are new displays and new things to learn every time we visit.  There is even a great view into the workrooms where the local paleontologist, Chris Flis works on the newest items that have been dug up.
Fun times in spring time in Texas with Baby B and His Mama (Wild One photography)
We also had fun when Baby B came along with his mama to spend the night.  Oh how much we love their visits.  Baby B is taking a few steps now...soon he will be motoring around everywhere.  His first birthday is here and we are planning a big birthday party this weekend.  I think Baby B will have a great time eating birthday cake and opening presents.  It sure will be fun to watch.  I wonder if he will like the presents or the boxes better?  We shall soon see!
Fun times in spring time with my surprise visitor from Japan
To top off the fun this week, Baby B and his mama brought me a really great surprise...this guy flew in all the way from Japan to surprise us.  Oh how happy I am to be able to hug my youngest again (at least for this week anyway).  It is so difficult to send him off to Japan again but I know it is a must because his country needs his service. My heart already looks forward to when we will see him and hug him again.  
Fun times in spring time with flowers of spring in my garden
It has been a great week with lots of fun despite my back giving me problems again.  (And right when Spring gets here too!)  Hopefully I can get it fixed this next week and be out in the garden for some cleanup and planting...more fun for me!  I love working in my garden in the Spring time and I am determined to not be laid up this year.  

Fun times in Spring Time here in Texas.  Gotta enjoy it while it lasts because the Texas Summer heat will be here before we know it. ;0)
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Spring Time Dreaming

We have been spending every weekend we can at our little lakehouse this year.  It is a good place to stop and take deep breaths and even do a little dreaming.   What a view to dream with!  I never get tired of the beautiful views from our lakehouse deck.

As springtime has neared I have been dreaming of flowers and trees and bushes.  When we first moved into our regular home it had a pretty garden that I enlarged and made into a beautiful garden.  Oh how I enjoyed sitting on our patio or any of the little spots where I had chairs or benches to enjoy my garden with.

A few years ago we began to have a terrible drought that many of you have read about in my blog.  It pretty much devastated my garden.  I lost 9 full sized holly trees, a huge American Elm (which is almost extinct), a couple of pecan trees, about 4 Elberta peach trees 2 white faced peach trees, 4 plum trees, countless bushes, countless roses, countless perennials, a dreamy bent grass lawn...

The drought is over now but our water rationing is not over yet.  We are still waiting for the rains to restore our underground water reservoirs and that takes time.  At the moment we are allowed to water two days a week with a hose by hand (no sprinkler) for one hour in the morning and then in the evening another hour.

I am still trying to decide whether to start planting yet or not.  I trust the drought is over, I just do not know how much time I want to spend actually watering everything with a hose in hand.  Time has been a premium lately and although I am dreaming of a new beautiful garden...I'm thinking we will jump back into planting slower but I'm just not sure because I know that eventually I will get spring fever and then what?  I am so tired of seeing the weed patch that my back lawn has become and the dirt patch that my front yard has become.

I haven't given up...I just want to be certain that the next garden I plant has every possible chance of making it.  I am already planning it in my mind and probably need to start plotting it on paper.  More likely though I will just go with it and plant as I see in my head and let the garden be a bit on the cottage side.  Oh how I adore flowers, trees and bushes as well as the little critters that come with them!  Maybe I will plant some showy crepe myrtles to replace the holly trees, and I will definitely be planting David Austin Roses along with many other flowers and herbs and bushes and trees.  I still have hope and I have faith that I will have a beautiful garden again soon.

In the meantime, I have scattered thousands of wildflower seeds at our little lakehouse to add to the many that are already there.  I am so excited to know that no matter what goes down this year at our regular home there will be flowers at my lakehouse.  I can already see them growing and I look forward to their beautiful colorful blooms.

You know, Texas has the very best wildflowers ever.  You can see even more of those blooms Here

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Tips for navigating transition

Everything was going along OK in life till one day everything changed.  Now you have picked up the pieces and you are ready to move on but you find yourself where you can't go back to the way it was and you can't seem to go forward.  My friend, you are in what is called transition.

I have gone through many times of transition.  Those times always involved moving from one place to another.  Those places were sometimes actual places on a map, or one season to another  or one job to another, one career to another, or even one way of being such as from child to adult, or from single to married and many more I could name.  

One thing all these had in common is that they were uncomfortable and sometimes even painful.  It was like going from living in the whole house of life to living in just the hallway.  I will be honest, I have shed many tears, thrown many fits, worried my hair gray, and even come close to giving up when in times of transition because they were so very hard at the time.  Looking back, I now see how very important those times were and I see why they are designed by God to be so uncomfortable.  He doesn't want us to camp out there any longer than necessary.  

I also see how I could have relaxed a little and made better use of those times than to cry, throw a fit, or become discouraged.  I could have spent more time preparing for the next place in life.  I could have spent more time hanging out with God.  I could have spent more time enjoying my family. I could have spent my time learning something new, etc.

Tips to get through transition in a positive way

Be encouraged friend if you are in a time of transition and the pressure is on (like a baby in a birth canal).  You can rejoice because you can be sure that as you cooperate with God in the process that He will complete what He has started.  You can trust that He is faithful to His word.  You can find comfort in that word and in spending time with Him.  Many times the transition is simply a place of holding you until the timing is perfect for you.  You wouldn't want to start a brand new job only to lose it a month or two later.  That almost happened to us once.  

We knew God had put our current city on our hearts as the place He was taking us.  We were so happy to finally have a destination.  We had been in contact with the administrator of the hospital and they were interested in a meeting with my husband.  We began to research the town and happily went to visit family for a holiday, knowing that we would be talking to the administrator about a new job after the holiday was over.  The holiday ended...the week went on to two weeks and we heard nothing from the administrator.  What happened?   It was heartbreaking because we thought we had heard so clearly from God with confirmations even.  That shook us up a bit.  

We picked up the pieces and began to look elsewhere.  My husband gained a job in another town and we prepared to move.  We put our house on the market, began to search for a new home in the new town. Months passed and for many reasons too long to tell today, we didn't move.  In fact, it got very very difficult for us in those months that added up to a year.  We were tested in our faith many times through that year and It was terrible at the time.  

After such a severe time of testing in so many areas of our life that included finances, failing a test for credentials, losing all our life savings, borrowing up to our necks, losing another job and even questioning if we heard God wrong; we learned that when God tells you He is going to do something then you can bet on it happening as long as you are on board for the process (transition) necessary to make it happen.  After all that, we were preparing to take a "too good to be true job" that paid huge wages (but we didn't have peace about it).  I told God, "If you don't want us to take this job then you better do something before I mail these papers in the morning."  That evening we received a phone call from the hospital that we had originally felt God was leading us to...my husband now works at that hospital.

encouragement for your time of transition

If you find your life in a time of transition then remember that you can make it harder or you can make use of the time.  Use this time as an excuse to get even closer to God.  Relax and remember that God is faithful.  He wants you to prosper even more than you want to.  He has your best in mind.  We found out later that had we got my husband's job at the time we first thought he would then he would have lost it because of a shakeup that happened.  God was protecting us all along and in the meantime He was teaching us so many lessons in faith that I wouldn't give up now even if I had the choice because, I know my God so much better than I did before and I know without any doubt whatsoever that He is faithful.  

See that picture of the sunset above?  That photo was taken about 5 minutes before the picture below.  The same camera was used and both photos were taken without filters or even alterations done with the exception of my name added in the corner.  Sunsets are a time of transition...

Tips for your time of transition

Take encouragement from the photos.  Remember that God is taking you from one place that may seem beautiful to a place that is stunning in joy and beauty.  Remember that the process takes time sometimes and that it isn't always (in fact almost never) the way you think it will go.  Sometimes it might even get messy and painful.  Remember that God has your very best in mind.  Remember also that God truly does have it all in His control as long as you leave it there and cooperate with Him. Make good use of your time.
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You Don't Have To Be Stuck With That White Freezer

 We needed a small freezer at our lakehouse to hold extra ice and so we moved one from our garage to the lakehouse.  It was the perfect size but not the perfect color.  I decided that I didn't have to live with it so I decided to fix it.
 I had hoped the white would be OK since our walls were white but as you can see, it really stuck out.
 I knew I could leave it and eventually get used to it but I decided that I could make it look better. I  considered several options which included using Stainless Steel Contact Paper to make it match my other appliances.  I also considered stainless steel paint.
 I decided to paint it the same color as our cabinets.  I used Behr Jamaica Bay Acrylic Paint with primer.  I used a brush which does cause slight brush marks but they are no more noticeable than on the wood cabinets which didn't bother me because it causes the texture to be more smudge proof and not show fingerprints but if you wanted it to have a smoother feel then just use the paint in a sprayer.

You could make the surface more resistant to scratches by using an oil based paint but I have found that with the proper handling that acrylic holds up just fine. Be sure to let the paint cure for at least 3 weeks before heavy use.  That gives the paint time to harden and become more resistant to scratches.
Now, doesn't that look better?  Even my husband thinks it does, although he is getting a bit afraid that if he sits still too long that I might decide to paint him too.
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Another Lakehouse Remodel Project

See The Amazing Redo of This Refrigerator on Another Lakehouse Remodel Project

Some new friends of mine recently bought a lakehouse near ours and I am so excited about that.  My friends happen to be my contractor Kinlee Hoyt and his dear wife, Brittney.  She loved all the turquoise and aqua in our lakehouse and decided that she wanted to use those colors in their lakehouse with a twist that I won't share quite yet.  I can't tell you how excited I am to see everything they do to their cute little cabin with so much possibility.  Here is one of her first projects.  This is an old refrigerator that still works great but....well...you can see the problem.  That didn't stop Brittney though...
Beautiful Color for Another Lakehouse Remodel Project (Old Refrigerator)
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 She had some paint mixed in a beautiful turquoise color called Bella Vista.  She taped off the parts that she didn't want to be turquoise then she primed and painted that refrigerator with a brush! (I like this girl already!)
Beautiful Redo of A Really Old Refrigerator
Look how great this refrigerator turned out!  I think it looks great!  It just proves what I have always said.  A little paint can do a lot!  Great job Brittney.  I look forward to seeing what else you and Kinlee do with your new cabin.
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Green Chile Chicken Soup

Recipe for Green Chile Chicken Soup

Oh my, has it been a busy couple of weeks for me.  There is lots happening at the Lakehouse that I can't wait to show you and I have been busy at home cleaning out drawers and closets and garages.  That is a big job at my house...I am kind of like Joanna Gaines.  I have cool stuff stashed all over the place but  because I am not going to have a business like hers, I have decided to let go of some of it and clean out the junk that fills up my life.  I'm doing that in the natural and spiritual parts of my life.   It is hard but it brings so much freedom too.  Anyway, I decided to pop in and give you the recipe for this new soup that I created simply because I was in a hurry and needed something really good for supper.  He loved it.

This is a quick soup to make but it tastes oh so much better after it has sat for a while.  I likw to allow those flavors to meld and become oh so yummy.  I do this by letting the soup rest for about 30 minutes and then reheating it to serve hot.  This can definitely be served immediately but it is worth the wait to allow those flavors to meld together.

Green Chile Chicken Soup

1 1/2 C. Chopped Chicken Fajita Meat
1/4 C Onion Chopped
2 Cans Green Chilies
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Pkg Chicken Alfredo Hamburger Helper
1 Sm Pkg Mixed Frozen Vegetables
1 Pkg Velveeta Cheese Shreds
2 1/2 to 3 C Water
Salt and Pepper

In Skillet over medium to high heat Stir Fry Chicken Fajita Meat, and onions.  Towards end of cooking I add both cans of green Chilies.  Stir fry a bit longer to get those flavors released and mixed.  Dump all this into a Soup Pot.  Add Spice Mix from Hamburger Helper Mix.  Mix Well.  Make sure all spice mix is broken up and dissolved.  Add all other ingredients.  Cook on medium until noodles are done.  Allow this soup to rest for about 30 minutes and then reheat to serve.  This would be really great with some Corn chips served on the side.

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How To Caulk And Make It Pretty

How to caulk a painted project and make it pretty...it doesn't have to be hard or messy
Have you ever tried to caulk a painted project and ended up with a mess on your fingers and everywhere else?  Me too.  For years I would work at it and always end up with an ugly caulk strip and caulk all over me, my clothes and my work area.

One day I was happily painting alongside some other contractors.  One of them was caulking the cracks between seams on the walls and suddenly he swiped that caulk with a wet rag.  That seam was beautiful!  I asked him about it and he said that was the best way to get a smooth pretty caulk seam and eliminate the extra caulk.  I said, "That information could have saved me years of frustration."

He shared a couple of tips.  This method only works on caulk that is water cleanup type.  First you lay a bead of caulk down then you use a wet rag to swipe it and smooth it out and even push into little spots with the caulk that ends up on your rag.  From time to time it is good to rinse out your rag as you work.

If this is your first time to try to caulk anything then you will need to know a few things:

  1.   Using a caulk gun is by far the easiest way to do any large amount of caulking.  Those squeeze tubes will wear you out and make your hands sore after a bit.  Spend the little bit extra and get a caulk gun.  They are not expensive.  Then you will buy the tubes that look a bit like a bullet.  
  2. Install the tube of caulk into the caulk gun.
  3. Cut the tip of the tube about 1/4 inch from the tip.  You can use scissors, a utility knife or a regular knife for this.
  4. Use a long nail or a piece of wire to poke down the end of the tube and break the membrane that holds the caulk into the cardboard part of the tube. (save that nail or wire for the next time!)
  5. Squeeze the trigger and caulk will come out.  It will keep coming out until you push the little silver metal lever piece on the back of the caulk gun (just past the area of the back of the tube.)  Practice a bit so you get the hang of how fast it will come out and stop.
  6. Lay a bead of caulk on the seam you want to seal.  Don't caulk slow, go at a quick pace because this will keep you from laying too much and keep it smoother as you go.  Keep the tip at the seam you are caulking.
  7. Have a wet rag on hand to swipe the bead against the crack or seam and make it smooth and pretty.  You don't want to end up with a long raised amount of caulk.  The best job is when it blends down in and smooths and seals the crack.
  8. There will be extra caulk on your rag.  This is normal (and better than on your finger).  Use it to start sealing your next part.  Don't let it go to waste.  
  9. Rinse your rag out from time to time as you proceed on the job.
  10. When you run out of caulk in the tube you will need to push that silver metal piece and then pull that piece of metal rod (the one that is bent at a 90 degree angle at the end) out of the tube.  This will allow you to pull that tube out of the gun and reload a fresh one. (remember to cut the tip)
  11. If you have to stop the job before it is finished you can keep the caulk fresh by putting a screw that fits the tip of the tube tight into the tip.  Just screw it in with a screwdriver.  You can further protect it from drying out by wrapping the tube in a plastic grocery bag and twisting it closed. (sometimes I just do this if I will be back the next day and skip the screw.)  It will be ready to go for you when you come back to work with it.  You can store caulk like this for quite a long time with the screw and sack method.
  12. One more tip...be sure to buy caulk that is close to  your final color for your project and be sure it is paintable as well as water cleanup.

Give these tips a try next time.  You will be amazed how much prettier it turns out.  Now you can have a beautiful contractor like finish too when you caulk.  Let's face it.  Caulking the cracks and holes on a painting project at the seams and holes and dimples in your project makes all the difference in how professional looking it turns out.
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